Aruba Tourism Summit 2012 “Winning the Future”

Aruba Tourism Summit 2012 “Winning the Future”

The results of several months of study by a team from the Dick Pope Senior Institute of Tourism Studies, Rosen College of Hospitality Management was the keynote of the opening session of the Aruba Tourism Summit 2012 at the Renaissance Convention Center on December 8.

Officially opening the summit was Minister of Tourism, Transport & Labor, Otmar Oduber, who introduced keynote speaker Dr. Robertico Croes, Interim Chair Tourism Events and Attractions and Associate Dean at Dick Pope; he conducted the study deploying hospitality students from the University of Aruba and the EPI professional training faci­lity of Aruba.

Minister Oduber confirmed in his opening address the importance of the study’s finding and conclusions towards the crafting of Aruba’s marketing plan for the coming year. The summit’s title and theme is “Winning the Future,” during which he presented his “Two Steps Ahead” Tourism Policy.

Minister Oduber expressed his appreciation at the diversity of those attending in regard to their ties to Aruba’s tourism industry; large resort operators sat side by side with small entrepreneurs and educators in the tourism field. “I commend you on your pre­sence here today…because we can only win the future by participating, discussing and seeking alignments. Working together towards a common vision is hard work, but it is smarter.”

“When assuming the responsibility as a new Minister of Tourism, my philosophy was to have a national approach to tourism; during the first months I included over 30 stakeholders, over 200 indivi­duals, to participate in sessions, give feedback and ideas in how to develop the tourism industry and especially, how to enhance the experience of the visitor,” continued Minister Oduber.

“Tourism is, and will be, the driver of our economy; the largest employer, the highest generator of revenue, the larger propellant of growth and the key contributor to our quality of life. With that knowledge, we want to continue to make responsible and clear policy and strategic choices in regards to Aruba’s tourism industry.”

Minister Oduber further underscored the importance of weighing how accelerated growth impacts the island’s social fabric and quality of life for residents and visitors.

On the second day, Carlos Vogler, Regional Director for the Americas of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), opened the session with a presentation titled “Safeguarding the Future of Tourism-Global and Local Perspectives.”
Speaking on “Tourism, Creativity and Development-Global and Local Perspectives” was Greg Richards, Professor of Leisure Studies at Tilburg University and author of 11 books. John Checkett, Director of Route Planning for Jetblue, the airline that now brings the greatest number of visitors to Aruba, presented global and regional perspectives on the future of air service.

The afternoon agenda included break-out sessions dealing with the New Strategic lan for the Development of Tourism in Aruba; Happiness in the Work Place, Quality of Work Life; Tourism and Technology in Aruba; and Product Development & Innovation. The importance of the role of Culinary Tourism was emphasized.

In the evening, the Shoco Awards were presented, Aruba’s annual recognition of persons who have demonstrated exemplary spirit and dedication in the tourism industry. Among the awards and winners were Employee of the Year (Melvin Tromp of Renaissance Resort), Supervisor of the Year (Jhnoanel Enrique Carabello of Renaissance Resort), Manager of the Year (Maria van de Plassche of De Palm Island), Young Tourism Professional of the Year (Ayerim Maduro of Red Sail Sports), Lifetime Achievement Award (Gerrit Griffith, GM of Divi/Dutch Village Timeshare Resorts), One Happy Island Ambassador (Robertson Thomas of Pelican Adventures, Tour Guide of the Year (Angelique Lacle of De Palm Tours) and Shoco Care Award for exceptional community activism (Rita Dirkz of Costa Del Sol Development). These are, in essence, the Oscars of Tourism recognize those who work face to face with island visitors on a daily basis.

Story courtesy of The Morning News